ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
I don't know if you've had a chance to read some YA sci-fi recently, but there's some good stuff out there. I've absolutely fallen in love with The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. The first book is These Broken Stars and the second one is This Shattered World. A third one is coming out at the end of this year.

A quick and dirty description of TBS: Lilac and Tarver are the only two survivors of a luxury spaceship crash, and they have to rely on each other to survive. But they may not be entirely alone on the seemingly abandoned planet.

And TSW: Jubilee is a soldier. Flynn leads the rebellion. They shouldn't even be speaking, but circumstances throw them together when full-on war breaks out on the planet of Avon.

Both were amazing and stunning reads. The world is rich and fully developed, linking the two stories together. All four main characters are awesome. I found myself pulling and aching for them. Their voices are all distinct and I never once forgot who I was reading.

All in all, I adore this series and look forward to the third one.

Sequels!

Dec. 30th, 2014 09:18 am
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
Oh, wow! I completely forgot I started this back in August. On the days when I don't have anything else to post, I'll try to finish it out.

In case you missed it, A is here.

B. Best Sequel Ever

That's a tough one. Many sequels I read are lackluster or don't have the same quality as the first book. But there are at least two series I read recently where the story got better in each book.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - It kept up the pace and raised the stakes from Shadow and Bone. I cheered for Alina and had a love/hate thing for The Darkling. It was so good, I immediately went into Ruin and Rising

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Going into this book, featuring new characters, I thought there was no way it could be as Cinder. Dude, it was better. I squeed, I worried, I was in it for the long haul. And Cress was just as fantastic. Now, I'm chomping at the bit for Winter.

What was the best sequel you ever read?

The rest of the letters... )
ravenela: (Felicity - tea otter)
I know I'm behind everybody else, but there's not a comic book store near me, and I'm a newbie to the format. Anyway, I did get Ms. Marvel: Vol. 1 for Christmas and devoured it in one sitting.

Loved, loved, loved this graphic novel. Kamala reacts to getting superpowers pretty much the same way we all would. Panic, excitement, and finally, learning to kick ass. Which she does beautifully. Kamala was such a real character, and watching her grow from issue to issue was a real treat.

If I can get my library to order it, I will shove this graphic novel into the hands of every girl and boy I see. They'll all love it!
ravenela: (Write - created by mercurybard)
With 2015 around the corner, it’s time to make some plans.

1) Continue querying agents. (Maybe one of them will take me on.)

2) Write and edit two more books.

3) Go full time at my day job.

4) Make more time for reading and get through most of the books I’ve bought.

5) Blog more often, even if no one's reading.

What are your goals for 2015?

As for last year's goals, the only thing I finished was the most recent draft of WHITE SPIRIT. That was a big accomplishment within itself.
ravenela: (Rosalee library)
Whoa! Two posts in one day! Whaaaaat?

Well, I saw this alphabet book meme in [personal profile] ignipes's journal and thought, "That looks like fun." But instead of everyone choosing a letter, I'll go down the list one my own. That way, I can get back in the habit of posting and maybe generate some more content around here. Plus, books!

So, we'll start with A:

A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From

That would be Nora Roberts. To be fair, I think she's probably got the most books with more than 200 in print.:)

Anyway, I never seem to go wrong with a Nora book. No matter which one I pick up, I'm guaranteed to get a great love story, fantastic characters, and awesome dialogue. She's my go-to writer, always. Feeling blue? Pick up a Nora book. Feeling happy? Pick up a Nora book. Need a satisfying read? Pick up a Nora book.

The other letters )
ravenela: (Ichabod - Naushika)
Good morning!

This blog has been quiet for a little while, but I have a good reason for that. And that reason is my manuscript, White Spirit.

If you've been following me for a while, you know I've been working on this story off and on for six years now (nine if you count the planning and false starts). Well, I'm nearing the end of this draft, and I think it's ready to be sent out into the world. I've got a list of agents, and we're going to see what happens. Wish me luck!

In other book news, my friend Alexandra Christian has a new short erotic horror piece called Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It's about the dangers of being a fangirl. It's only $1.99. Give it a read!

I've also spent this summer hanging out on Tumblr and swooning over Sebastian Stan. It started with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it got worse from there. I'd include pictures, but I'm at work right now.

So that's where I've been. What have you been up to this summer?
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
Brrrr. It's cold out there, and this Southern belle isn't used to temperatures this cold. That's okay. I can hear all of you Northerners, Midwesterners, and Canadians laughing from here.

Anyway, I have a topic for today, and you can still suggest a topic for this month. Just go here.

Today's topic comes from [personal profile] ignipes: Talk about YA literature and why you enjoy reading it and writing it.

Growing up, there wasn't really a YA section. There was upper juvenile fiction, which consisted of writers like Judy Blume, Ellen Conford (who wrote about a girl who discovered she was a princess well before Meg Cabot), and Paula Danziger. So, I mostly skipped over it to adult books.

But I fell in love with the genre when I took an adolescent literature class in college. My professor chose mostly old books that no one ever heard of, but we did get to choose some of our own. That's where I read Robin McKinley, Annette Curtis Klause, and an unknown debut author named J.K. Rowling. I was hooked.

I like adult fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, but they don't cover my favorite topics, like first love or discovering who you are. They're too busy covering bigger issues. But YA fantasy and sci-fi does. YA focuses more on character than worldbuilding. Of course, that's my opinion, and not all adult books cover only worldbuilding. But you know what I mean.

It also gives me a chance to enjoy the teenage years. My teenage years were awful, but I like the rosy version of high school some of these books paint.

In other words, YA is still doing fresh and new things, and I keep enjoying it.

Some of my recent favorites:
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Rules by Stacey Kade
Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
Texas Gothic and Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore
These Broken Stars by Aimee Kaufmann and Megan Spooner
ravenela: (Rosalee library)
Since no one suggested a topic for today, I have a new squeeworthy book for you!

The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting

Titles in Series:
The Body Finder
Desires of the Dead
The Last Echo
Dead Silence


Violet has a secret. She can find dead bodies, no matter how well the killers tried to hide them. And one killer in particular isn't happy about it.

Despite the light paranormal premise, this YA series is mostly a mystery series. Violet is an awesome main character, and her best friend (whom she's in love with) is there for her all the way. This series is squeeworthy because of how the mystery unfolds and how realistic the characters are. Each chapter in the first book ramps up the tension slowly until you hit the most exciting part.

Definitely check them out from the library!
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
I don't know about you, but I came across some really good books this year. Some of these weren't published in 2013, but I read them this year. So it counts.

1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This book captured what it's like to be a socially awkward fangirl in a whole new setting. Being much older than the protagonist, I did want to shake her at times. But then I would remember how awkward I was at 18. Plus, it never once looks down on fanfiction or being a fangirl. And then there's Levi. Who doesn't love patient, sweet Levi?

2) Cinder by Marissa Meyer
You had me at cyborg Cinderella. Meyer has a way of taking the familiar parts of the fairytale and transforming them into an interesting and new sci-fi story. I felt for Cinder, especially by the end, and I must pick up the second book now.

3) The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Criminal Minds meets The Mentalist for the teen set. This was an awesome mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Plus, no sci-fi, no magic, nothing supernatural at all. Just a good, old fashioned mystery.

4) The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
This book has been around for a little while, but I didn't pick it up until this year. Mystery, intrigue, romance, all in a historical setting. I was completely engaged from page one.

5) The Rules by Stacey Kade
A half-alien hiding from the people who created her. The whole premise was fantastic, and both protagonists were interesting. How Kade keeps the voices different, I'll never know, but it's pretty amazing. Can't wait for the sequel!

What five books did you like the best?
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
It's been a while since I've done a book post so let's bring this feature back. I never talk about books enough.

Today, instead of a book or series, I'm squeeing about an author - Libba Bray. If you read this post, then you know I got to meet her at YALLFest a couple of weeks ago. She was amazing!

So, let's talk about this woman's books. Now, there is one I haven't read yet called GOING BOVINE. If you have, please squee about it in the comments. (It's on my very long to-read list.)

Now, let's squee about the ones I have read:



The Gemma Doyle Trilogy )



Beauty Queens )



The Diviners )

Now, go read these books and tell me what you thought.
ravenela: (Duke silver eyes - upoffmyknees)
Before I tell you all about YALLFest, I want to give a shout-out to the lovely icon makers who made my new icons - [personal profile] naushika, iloveimpala67, larmay, and upoffmyknees. The Haven and Sleepy Hollow icons you make are incredible.

And now, for YALLFest!

For those of you who don't know, YALLFest is a YA book festival held every November in Charleston, SC. Tons of authors and readers take over the street around Blue Bicycle Books. Readers get to meet their favorite authors and listen to them talk on panels. It's a YA mini-con.

This year's big draw was Veronica Roth, and she had a ton of people come out to see her. There were so many people I couldn't get near her.

I did, however, get to meet Marie Lu:



And the reason I came, Libba Bray:



I even ran into Libba Bray at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch while waiting for the bathroom. And then when I met her at the signing, she remembered me. *Beams* It was awesome!

All in all, a good day. I am a happy librarian.
ravenela: (Redhead)
* I'm never going to finish WHITE SPIRIT. It's going to keep going and going and going...

* Sometimes I look at people and think, "It must be exhausting trying to be cynical and cool all the time."

* Jotted ideas down for the merman book the other day. I'm pleased with many of them.

* I have no idea why the library is full of people today. We don't have any programs going on. It's a beautiful day outside; why are you all here?

* Almost finished with Sweet Legacy by Tera Lynn Childs, and then I can start Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I've heard good things.

* One kid is watching Zack and Cody on one of the computers. I find myself watching with him from my seat on the desk, even though I can't hear it.

* I wish this child behind me would stop screaming.

* Ooh, the Emmys come on tonight. I'll be in my pajamas, stuffing my face with potato chips while I watch. I'm a sucker for awards shows.

How is your Sunday going?
ravenela: (McKenna/Tristan - original story)
Good morning! I'm wearing both my librarian and writer hats today. I have another book to squee about, and some writing updates to impart.

Let's start with the Squeeworthy Book. I've been thinking of ways to change up the format of this feature to make it more interesting so I'm going to try some new things in the coming weeks. Something's bound to stick, right?

Anyway, this week's Squeeworthy Book is another series, Medusa Girls by Tera Lynn Childs.



Books in Series: SWEET VENOM, SWEET SHADOWS, SWEET LEGACY

Plot: Grace, Gretchen, and Greer each grew up in different households. When the three come together, they learn they are identical triplets and have the power to send mythological monsters back to their own realm. They are also the Key Generation, three young women prophesied to open the door between our world and the world of the monsters. It's Charmed meets Greek mythology.

Favorite Character: Grace, definitely. She is the sister who grows the most throughout the trilogy. She's smart and she learns to kick butt.

Why is it squeeworthy? This whole series is so much fun. You have three sisters learning who they are and about their magical powers. And they're fighting monsters along the way. Did I mention that it reminds me of Charmed? Each girl has an individual power in addition to the powers all three share. It's magic, it's mayhem, and it's wonderful.

Okay, and now for my #writemotivation update.

I haven't accomplished anything this past week, but to be fair, I had a houseguest.

1) Plot out MWM

I wrote down some more notes about my witches and my trolls, but a coherent plot still eludes me. I'll continue to dig.

2) Write query for WS

I have less than 100 pages to go on this draft, and I'm worried it won't reach 80,000 words. If I can get it as close as possible, I can write the query.

3) Send out first round of queries

See above.

4) Write first chapter of MWM

Still need to plot and outline before I begin.

How are your writing projects coming? Got any squeeworthy books to recommend?
ravenela: (Rosalee library)
Putting on my book nerd hat today. Let's talk about the ones I've been excited about lately.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

Plot: Amy wants to fight alongside the Purple Gentian, a well-known spy who worked with the Scarlet Pimpernel in Napoleon France. She sets off to France to find him and gets tangled up with the dashing Lord Richard Selwick.

Why is it squeeworthy? It has a dash of romance, a dash or intrigue, and a dash of historical fiction, along with a frame story featuring the love-hate romance trope. In other words, the book should've had "written for Amy" tattooed across the cover. I swept into the story and was never bored for a moment. It was awesome!

Texas Gothic and Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Plots: TG follows reluctant witch Amy (I sense a name theme) while she deals with a ghost on her aunt's ranch. SAD tells the story of Amy's cousin Daisy, a psychic who is kidnapped by a mob boss who wants her powers.

Why are they squeeworthy? First of all, both Amy and Daisy are redheads. That's enough to make me extremely happy. Secondly, each book moves at a fast pace, and the stories never slow down. Finally, I love the world. The magic is subtle and weaves into the contemporary world seamlessly.
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
Witches and fairies are two of my favorite things when it comes to stories. I don't know what it is, but there's something about magic that I love.

Putting on my librarian hat, I bring you another squeeworthy book. This one's not part of a series, and it's a book for sci-fi/fantasy geeks.

Among Others by Jo Walton



About:
In 1979, Mori Phelps ran away from her mother after stopping her from destroying the world. She wound up at a boarding school where she surrounds herself with classic sci-fi/fantasy and tries to put the past behind her. But the magic keeps creeping in.


Why is it Squeeworthy?
Books and the library play major roles in this story, and shows how they can save your life. The magic is very subtle, but is integral to the world. And then there's Wim, who I might be a little in love with.
ravenela: (Rosalee library)
Happy Monday! Hope yours was filled with rainbows and puppies. Mine was filled with writing and library patrons and Henry Cavill. Yay!

I have a Squeeworthy Books post, a Summer Fling post, and a Write Motivation post to put up. But this is not those posts. (The Summer Fling one is going to be fun. I found Red Riding Hood - a kids movie, not the teen one. Oh, Henry, what were you thinking?)

No, this one is a regular ole update post.

*I have the urge to write fic for Man of Steel. I'm probably going to break down and do it just because I can't resist. (Plus, I need to do something with my time while I wait for it to come out on DVD. Seriously, why is it not in my hot little hands yet?)

*After I finish Among Others by Jo Walton, I'm taking a mini-break from sci-fi/fantasy. I have some romance by Jayne Ann Krentz and Karen White and some historical fiction by Lauren Willig and Philippa Gregory lined up. I need a change of reading pace for a while. If you have a historical fiction or romance (contemporary or suspense, but not erotica - it makes me blush) suggestion, please give it to me.

*I will finish WHITE SPIRIT by August 17. Mark my words! Tristan and McKenna are behaving, and I'm pleased. Sexy psychics, for the win!

*The Bearded One is planning to take me to the beach for my birthday at the end of this month. So looking forward to it. It'll us, the waves, and a book. Perfect!

So, what's new with you? :)
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
My friend [personal profile] seimaisin introduced me to Mercedes Lackey a few years back. She said I would love her books. The first one I picked up was The Fairy Godmother, and she was right. I absolutely loved it. I've been taking my time reading through Lackey's backlog ever since.



Books in the Series:
The Fairy Godmother
One Good Knight
Fortune's Fool
The Snow Queen
The Sleeping Beauty
Beauty and the Werewolf

About:
In the Five Hundred Kingdoms, you don't have much choice in which way your life goes. The Tradition rules all, and if your life resembles a fairytale, then that's the direction it will go. That is, unless, you can outsmart The Tradition. Each book focuses on different stories and different couples. The stories often go in directions you don't expect.

Why is it Squeeworthy?
Lackey has a way of taking a familiar story and then turning it on its head. Also, these books are lighthearted and pretty funny with female characters who are smart enough to outwit the weight of The Tradition. Definitely a fun summer read.
ravenela: (Ewan dance)
As a librarian, I read a lot of books. Some are interesting, others I never finish, and then there are the Squeeworthy Books. These are the books and book series that I fawn over. I can't get enough of them. I'm right there at the book store or on my ereader or the first in line at the library to get my hands on the newest ones.

So that's what this (hopefully) weekly post is all about - me geeking out over my favorite books. They're not reviews, just a lot of fawning. And no, no one is paying me to do this.

Please tell me about the book that make you squee in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for new ones to read.

Today's Squeeworthy Book is actually a series - The Esther Diamond series by Laura Resnick.



Books in the Series:
Disappearing Nightly
Dopplegangsters
Unsympathetic Magic
Vamparazzi
Polterheist
The Misfortune Cookie
(November 5, 2013)

About:
Esther Diamond is a working actress in New York City. She isn't famous or anything, but she's doing okay. While understudying in an off-Broadway show called Sorcerer, the lead actress magically disappears. Soon after, she meets Max, a slowly-aging wizard whose mission is to protect the city from Evil. She also meets a sexy detective named Connor Lopez. Esther is pulled into a world of magic and stands up to fight against Evil. But Evil keeps showing up to all of her other jobs, too.

Why is it Squeeworthy?
This is one of the most hilarious series I've ever read. I'm talking laugh out loud moments. Esther and Mex's friendship is one of the best things ever, and her off and on relationship with Connor is fun to read. However, the best part is Esther chooses to go into these dangerous situations with no magical powers or artifacts of her own. I think that makes her a very strong protagonist.

Now, is it time for The Misfortune Cookie to come out yet?
ravenela: (Troi/Riker)
Here it is...the Star Trek babbling I promised you. You're very excited; I can tell. And if you're looking for an in-depth review, you won't find it here.

Movie ramblings... )

In other Trek news, hubby and I have made it to Enterprise...and we're not sure what to think.

First of all, what's up with the power ballad theme song?

Moving on, it makes for an interesting prequel, but it feels...angstier. I wasn't sure about Hoshi, what with the whining in the beginning, but she's growing on me. Tripp and T'Pol continue to grate, but I'm willing to give them time to mellow.

Love the doctor on this one (and it's not only because hubby and I met him in person. In fact, hubby held his arm so his wife could spray him with cologne. It was a weird panel.)

I think we have two seasons left on this one. Please tell me the dog makes it out alive.

******

I've also signed up for another month of #WriteMotivation. This month, my goals are:

1) Complete at least four chapters of the WHITE SPIRIT revision.

2) Work on it every day.

3) Start researching trolls for my YA, MAYBERRY WITH MONSTERS (working title).

Let's do this!

******

Also, I finished up my Summer Reading series of posts on Friday. If you missed any of the authors, here's a comprehensive list:

Alexandra Christian, paranormal erotic romance
Zillah Anderson, young adult
Berengaria Brown, m/m romance
Selah Janel, horror and urban fantasy
Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks, paranormal erotic romance
Tyffani Clark Kemp, urban fantasy and paranormal romance
ravenela: (Nick reading - BM_Shipper)
Today, we've reached the end of Summer Reading. I hope you've found something you'd like to spend time on a beach blanket with.

For our final installment, we find out what two vampires have in their summer plans.

******

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gents. Time for bathing in the sun, splashing in the pool and bummin’ at the beach. It’s my personal favorite time of year—SUMMER! The sticky air and warm summer breezes just seem to heighten our senses. We’re more passionate about everything! And that goes for our friends in the paranormal realm as well. Today I’m talking to two of my vampire characters, Andre de Beaumanoir from the Strange Bedfellows series and Seth from Sanguine Kiss, about their plans for this summer.

Lexxx: Hey boys! I see you have your sunglasses on and are ready for the summertime.

Andre: This heat is dreadful. I would only come out for you, cheri. Begins fanning himself furiously with his hand.

Lexxx: Yes, I’m surprised that vampires would be willing to meet up for an interview on such a sunny day.

Seth: Looking haughty. Well if you remember, dear one, I was born in the Egyptian desert. Heat doesn’t bother me. In fact, I crave a little heat from time to time. Wiggles his eyebrows suggestively at Lexxx.

Andre: Oh for Gods’ sake…

Lexxx: Blushing from head to toe. Uhm… so what do you two plan to do on your summer vacation? Any exciting plans?

Andre: Well, I’m in the middle of a project with you, cheri! Strange Bedfellows 3 is in the works and should be ready by autumn. I’ll be fighting a necromancer and saving the day, of course. And then, perhaps I’ll take a bit of vacation. I hear the mountains are beautiful this time of year. And cave diving is definitely a sport for vampires. Stretches, showing off his impressive, if a bit pale, physique.

Lexxx: Leaning in conspiratorially, If you need a traveling companion…

Seth: Ahem… I believe that Lexxx is also working with ME on something new. Pulling Lexxx in closely. And it will be to die for.

Lexxx: Breathing deeply, unable to look away from the vampire. Uh… well… we all know what I will be doing this summer. Apparently writing is in my immediate future, however, Seth… any vacation plans?

Seth: I intend to dine in some of the best destinations around the world. Smiling toothily.

********

And on that note, I ran for my life. In your beach bags this summer, don’t forget to take your reading device loaded down with steamy paranormal romances from your old pal Alexandra Christian.

******



Vengeance is only the beginning…

Gillian Thompson wants to end her life. Deserted by her lover and desperate for peace, she thinks that death is the only answer. But life never closes one door without opening a window. On a fateful night, the one that should be her last, she meets the dark and mysterious Seth, who seems to understand the depth of her pain. Rather than let her kill herself, he offers Gillian a new life beyond pain and regret. A life bathed in bloody kisses and bittersweet vengeance.




“...vampires can be dangerous to your health.”

A truer statement had never been uttered, but when Cali stumbled upon The Oubliette, she began to realize the wisdom in those words. Broken-hearted and bored, Cali’s life had become a string of TV dinners and romance novels.

She wondered where her life was going until she followed the mysterious stranger through the red door and entered a world that few would ever know existed. A world of vampires, werewolves and pleasure beyond imagination. Within the walls of The Oubliette, Cali will embark on a dangerous and sensual journey of discovery that will change her life forever.


Find out more about Alexandra Christian and her books at her blog: Southern Belle from Hell

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